From: Eric Weiss (email@example.com)
Date: Mon Oct 27 1997 - 23:16:20 EST
I've had a chance to do some reading to follow up on my own
post/question re: DIKAIOSUNH QEOU in Romans, but I still welcome any
> In Bible Review Magazine, October 1997 (current issue),
> N.T. Wright has a column (p.16) on Romans where he
> translate's "God's righteousness" to mean God's covenant
> faithfulness. He explains that Romans 3:21-4:25 "is not
> simply 'how sinners get saved,' but how God is faithful to his
> I think Hendrikus Boers also seems inclined to this view, or to
> translating "the righteousness of God" to mean "God's justice,"
> both in his book on THE JUSTIFICATION OF THE GENTILES
> ... and in his introduction to Wilhelm Egger's book
> HOW TO READ THE NEW TESTAMENT: AN INTRODUCTION
> TO LINGUISTIC AND HISTORICAL-CRITICAL METHODOLOGY...
> Is Wright's/Boers' interpretation of
> QEOU DIKAIOSUNH or DIKAIOSUNH QEOU
> an indicator of a trend in NT scholarship, or has this been
> a majority or plurality view all along? Does the word order
> or the presence or lack of the definite article in this
> phrase give a clue as to how to translate it
> (i.e., "God's justice/uprightness" vs. "the way God makes
> people righteous") - or is context the only clue - or is one's
> theological predisposition the determining factor? Any clues from
> Classical Greek or Rabbinical literature?
BAGD (pp. 196-197) says the phrase in Pauline usage means "the
righteousness bestowed by God" and that sometimes ... [it] "is also an
attribute of God." This argues against Wright/Boers, I think.
Colin Brown's NIDNTT (Vol. 3) says re: Paul's use of the term that
"God's righteousness is essentially his covenant dealings with his
people.... This divine righteousness is revealed by the fact that God's
purposes are not foiled by man's sin...." (p. 363) - this definition
seems to agree with Wright/Boers. Then he continues, "Similarly, in the
light of the transition between Rom. 3:20 and 3:21 ff., DIKAIOSUNH in
the latter passage must be taken as meaning the way in which God
justifies." (p. 364) - which goes against what Wright says in his Bible
Review column about what 3:21-3:22 means.
As I wrote, I think the translation (or rather "meaning") of DIKAIOSUNH
QEOU / QEOU DIKAISUNH has important ramifications for the interpretation
of the Epistle, but it appears from my meager resources that one's
theological predisposition may be the deciding factor - context may not
be decisive. Again I ask: is there anything in the Greek (word order,
etc.) that would grammatically favor one translation over the other in
the different passages it occurs? I am supposed to share some "insights
from the Greek" as part of a church Bible study on Romans in January,
and it seems that phrases like this will probably raise more questions
than give insights!
-- "Eric S. Weiss" http://home1.gte.net/eweiss/index.htm firstname.lastname@example.org
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